There are a wide variety of resources available to help you pay for college such as scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and student loans. Sources include federal and state government, your chosen college or university, as well as private sources. Follow these steps to take full advantage of what’s available.
If you want to begin exploring your financial aid options and get an early start on the financial aid process, use our Expected Family Contribution calculator. This tool will give you an early estimate of eligibility for federal student aid. You should also take advantage of the Net Price or True Cost Calculator on the Web sites of the colleges that interest you. These will help you estimate the financial aid and scholarships available to you.
Many scholarships are not posted until the fall of your senior year, but deadlines start popping up as early as December. See your high school counselor or career center manager for a list of scholarships and check out our list of state and local scholarships. Looking locally for scholarships can produce successful search results. Start with your local community/civic organizations and businesses. Ask your family and friends what organizations they belong to and see if they offer scholarship opportunities. Do your parents’ employers have scholarship competitions? Do you have an older friend who was awarded a scholarship from a local business or organization? Check it out!
There are several free scholarship sites on the Internet.
Read your local newspaper every day to look for announcements about scholarships or photos of winners.
If you attend a community college, check the requirements to join Phi Theta Kappa which offers great scholarships.
Most scholarships come directly from individual colleges.
Complete applications for admission in the fall of your senior year. You must be accepted for admission in order to receive scholarships and financial aid. Most can be found online at each college’s website. MAKE SURE YOU MEET ALL DEADLINES!
If you attend a community college, be aware that 4-year colleges may have transfer scholarships for Phi Theta Kappa members, so be sure to join if selected.
Complete the FAFSA to apply for Federal Financial Aid.
The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is required to receive any federal funds. Federal funds include need-based and non-need-based grants, work-study programs, and student loans. The FAFSA may also be used for awarding some state aid, institutional aid, and even private scholarships.
You must complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov after October 1 of your senior year. The online application process contains built-in edits to help you prevent costly mistakes. Make sure you meet state grant deadlines and your prospective colleges’ priority deadlines. Check out our list of what documents you need to gather before filing.
Review for accuracy your Student Aid Report (SAR), which is sent to you after you file your FAFSA. If necessary, make and submit corrections. Some schools may require the CSS/Financial Aid Profile® in addition to the FAFSA.
If you have any special circumstances, contact the Financial Aid Office of the school you plan to attend.
Complete the Mississippi Student Aid Application
The Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid (MOSFA) offers scholarships and grants based on merit and ﬁnancial need to full-time (15 credit hours per semester) students attending eligible Mississippi colleges and universities. The application is available at www.mississippi.edu/financialaid or you can link to the Mississippi application after completing the FAFSA and most of your info will be prefilled.
You should complete your application after October 1 of your senior year and prior to March 31 which is the earliest deadline. For more information, contact MOSFA at 601.432.6997 or 800.327.2980.
To receive any state assistance, you must take at least 15 hours each semester (fall/spring).